Wonder at the Renwick Gallery, DC

Artist Jennifer Angus, In The Midnight Garden | Photo: www.renwick.americanart.si.edu/Rob Blunt

When: Friday, November 13 - Saturday, July 10, 2016 (1st Floor)
Friday, November 13 - Saturday, May 8, 2016 (1st Floor)
Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 8:30PM (WONDER at Night! A Renwick Gallery After Hours Event)

Hot Spot: Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

Deets: This fall the Renwick Gallery—the first building in the United States built expressly as an art museum—opens its doors after a major, two-year renovation. To celebrate, we’re transforming the entire museum into an immersive artwork with our debut exhibition, WONDER.

Nine leading contemporary artists—Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, Gabriel Dawe, Tara Donovan, Patrick Dougherty, Janet Echelman, John Grade, Maya Lin and Leo Villareal—are each taking over different galleries in the building, creating site-specific installations inspired by the Renwick. Together, these installations will turn the building into a larger-than-life work of art.

WONDER will open Nov. 13 and will be on view for six months. The exhibition is organized by Nicholas R. Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge.

While the nine artists featured in WONDER create strikingly different works, they are connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials. Index cards, marbles, strips of wood—all objects so commonplace and ordinary we often overlook them—are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to utterly transform spaces and engage us in the most surprising ways. The works are expressions of process, labor, and materials that are grounded in our everyday world, but that combine to produce awe-inspiring results.

Wonder what you’ll see? Here’s a sneak peek: Jennifer Angus covers gallery walls in spiraling, geometric designs reminiscent of wallpaper or textiles—but made using specimens of different species of shimmering, brightly-colored insects. Chakaia Booker splices and weaves discarded rubber tires into an enormous, complex labyrinth as Gabriel Dawe hangs thousands of strands of polyester sewing thread to create what appear to be waves of color and light sweeping from floor to ceiling.

Patrick Dougherty weaves monumental structures from countless tree saplings while Tara Donovan constructs looming spires from hundreds of thousands of individually-stacked index cards. Janet Echelman explores volumetric form without solid mass, overtaking the museum’s famed Grand Salon with a suspended, hand-woven net surging across its hundred foot length. Using 500,000 pieces of reclaimed, old-growth cedar, John Grade builds an intricate structure based on plaster casts taken of a massive, old-growth hemlock tree in the Cascade Mountains. Maya Lin’s deluge of green marbles flows across the floor and up walls, recalling the tides of the Chesapeake Bay, while 23,000 LEDs—programmed by Leo Villareal to display a code manipulated into endless variations—flash above the Grand Staircase.

Who You May Spot: Art enthusiasts

Hint For The Average Socialite: Admission is free. For museum hours click here. For a list of free public programs click here.
On Friday, April 22, SAAM and Brightest Young Things D.C. are teaming up once again to bring you an after-hours party like no other. "WONDER at Night" puts a new spin on the Renwick's most popular exhibition, featuring an open bar, specialty cocktails, small bites from some of DC's best new restaurants, live music, DJ's, surprise entertainment, and so much more. This is a 21+ event.

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